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Independent Notes: Property tax relief — proposals include caps, refunds and a fifty percent reduction.

At the close of the last Legislative session in March of 2023 we found that some 18 property tax relief bills (maybe more, but not introduced) had been lost along the way.

Dan Dockstader recently served as President of the Wyoming Senate (2021-22) and also served as the Senate Majority Floor Leader (2019-20).
He is currently a member of the 2023 Senate Labor, Health & Social Services Committee and Chairman of the 2023 Senate Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee

I had watched as a few of my favorites were sent to the house only to not surface out of the Revenue Committee.

I thought property tax relief was considered a priority in our work and I still think of it as a priority going into the 2024 Legislative session.

We have become a victim of our own popularity as people are finding Wyoming like they never have before. Most of it happened post-Covid. They all seem to want a beautiful, rural setting and are willing to pay significant prices to own land and property here.

Gov. Gordon, in a recent radio interview with the Weekday Wake-Up program (heard Monday through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KDWY in Kemmerer/Diamondville/Bridger Valley and KRSV in Star Valley) acknowledged that people are coming and buying across the state..

In my words, not the governor’s,  they are making purchases at any price, well beyond what those who have called this place home for decades can even think of paying. We have been living in the Star Valley economy and not the world’s robust economy.

The ultimate result — it drives up property taxes for all of us.

In the last session, my property tax relief bill, actually a resolution, called for less taxes paid for by the elderly and the infirm.. It was a hold out and was still in the process of consideration as the session neared an end.

Due to the fact that we had not passed a serious piece of legislation calling for overall property tax relief, I teamed up with the Teton County’s Legislative delegation because as I see it, Teton and Lincoln are ground zero for property tax increases.

We got an amended version of my bill through, both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor. It creates a separate residential status that we can then used to further reduce the taxes.

This Legislation changes the constitution, so you’ll see it on the ballot in 2024.

Three of our kids were born here in Wyoming and all four raised in Star Valley. If we had to try and make it work in today’s  economy and the heavy tax burden associated with it as a young family, I’m not sure we could make it. That’s what I worry about — the next generation trying to call Star Valley home with this new property taxes environment.

And, all this because we have become one of the best places to live in the world!

As we move into a new Legislative session, here’s what’s up for consideration in 2024. (See Casper Star Tribune Oct. 11.)

First,  rebate program, offering  a limited rebate to the annual taxes.

Second, putting a cap on the program and taxing at a lesser rate.  I’ve already filed one of these bills for 2024.

Third, at this point, changing the model, allowing for acquisition based taxing.

And, finally a 50 percent reduction in the rate as was explained at an Oct. 16 meeting in Thayne.  See page one.

Or you can watch it here:

In addition there will be opportunities to sign the petition at the following locations.

• 10/19: Etna Trading Co. 7:00-9:00 a.m.

• 10/19: Etna Community Center. 5:00-7:00 p.m.

• 10/21: Thayne Community Center. 9:00-11:00 a.m.

• 10/21: Afton Broulims. Noon-3:00 p.m.

• 10/21: Alpine Civic Center. 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Let us know what you think!